Today's Reading: John 14:1-14
Jesus said to Him, "Am I with you for so long, and you don't know me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Everyone wants to see God. He's their Father, after all, and they not only want to see Him but also experience Him. Maybe you want that, too. We all, at some point, really wish we could see God. You're not alone. Philip wanted that, too! He gets an answer he wasn't expecting. He'd already seen the Father! How had he seen the Father? Well, he saw the Father because He saw Jesus.
Now, is Jesus the Father? No. "The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man" (Christian Question 10). But the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. With the Holy Spirit, they are one God, now and forever. So, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct from one another, but they are one God.
So, Philip, seeing Jesus preach, teach, and work, was seeing the Father preach, teach, and work. Jesus, the Son, is the face of the Father. He does the Father's business: dying and rising for the sins of the world. He gives out the Father's benefits: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. He delivers the gifts that the Father wants delivered: Baptism, Absolution, and the Supper.
You have access to the Father, too, but not in the way you might want or expect. It's not in big thundering voices from heaven, in shining glory clouds, and it's not in our own experiences or emotions. We need to repent of all that sort of "seeing the Father."
In the face of Jesus, Philip saw the Father. Jesus sent out Philip and James, and He still sends out His men with the promise: "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16). In the face of your pastor, you see the face of Jesus. His hands are Jesus' hands. His voice is Jesus' voice. Not only do you see and hear your Jesus in your pastor, you also receive from Him Jesus' Gifts: His Baptism, His Absolution, His Body and Blood.
This is all just like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit wanted. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, Your Son revealed himself to Philip and James and gave them the knowledge of everlasting life. Grant us perfectly to know Your Son Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth and the Life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for St. Philip and St. James, Apostles)